Can I Give My Dog Out Of Date Meat

Can I Give My Dog Out Of Date Meat?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

The research revealed that feeding your dog canned food past the “best by” date may not cause harm, but it will offer very little nutritional or dietary value and, in the long run, can be detrimental to your pet.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can I Give My Dog Out Of Date Meat?“.

Occasionally dog owners pick up a can of dog food from our cabinet only to realize that its already a couple of weeks or even a month past its “best by” date. The dog food could have been there for a while and we simply forgot or we may have bought expired items from the store. But the big question is is it okay to feed our dog expired food?

Can I Give My Dog Out Of Date Meat

We need to understand why ‘can’ and should’ are different in this case.

Can I give my dog out-of-date meat?

You can give your dog out-of-date canned meat for dogs without it hurting him but it would not give him much in the way of nutrition. 

In contrast to human food dog food does not have an expiration date that says you should not eat it after the date has passed. There is a “best by” date on dog food instead which pretty much means that you’re getting the food at its best quality by eating it before the indicated date. As a result stores can sell dog food past its prime so be sure to take a close look at those dates on the label.

There is no way to tell when the food was prepared and canned from the “best by” date. The risks of losing nutritional value getting mold and losing its integrity are higher for dry kibble but even canned dog food has its limits.

To be on the same page dry dog food has a shelf life of about three months whereas canned dog food can last for five years. While canned dog food may seem like it could survive a nuclear holocaust its not uncommon to accidentally pick up food thats well past its expiration date.

You should remember that expired dog food even canned food has the same nutritional value as cardboard. Despite being tasty and filling this food contains no vitamins and nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.

Can dogs eat cooked meat left out overnight?

It is not permissible for your dog to eat meat or canned dog food labeled as meat if it has been left out overnight. You should not do the same (in case you think its okay).

I kid you not feeding your dog meat that has been exposed for hours could pose serious health risks. If you leave food out in the open it typically has a safe zone of two hours which you can extend by another two hours if you reheat the meat beyond 65°C. No matter how bad the meat smells it should no longer be consumed. There is a high chance of your dog getting food poisoning.

Additionally there is the issue of fat content. Dog foods fat content is usually the first to go bad but you can tell from the strong rancid smell that its no longer edible by looking at its color. 

Can dogs eat raw meat that has been left out overnight?

It is also not a good idea to give your dog raw meat that has been left out overnight. Theres nothing worse than giving your dog cooked meat thats been left outside for hours.

Already raw meat contains some bacteria that can easily spread to millions in just four hours never mind eight to twelve hours. The same rules apply to storing food in a cool dry place. In order to extend its life for another two hours you need to reheat or cook it to at least 65°C after the first two hours. Any more than that and the meat must be discarded.

The smell of the food does not matter neither does the presence of a bad smell. As most bacteria that cause food poisoning do not emit a foul odor its always better to err on the side of caution.

What is the most dangerous old or rotten raw meat to feed a dog?

Dogs are most at risk from eating raw chicken that has gone bad. Eating raw chicken for dogs is dangerous not because of Salmonella but because it can cause a disease called acute poly radiculoneuritis or APN which causes paralysis in dogs.

In APN the dogs own immune system attacks the dogs own nerves which can cause paralysis and a great deal of pain. Campylobacter jejuni which is present in raw chicken and can multiply rapidly in old or rotten raw chicken is the cause of APN.

Old rotten meat is second on the list of dangerous foods for dogs behind pork fat. This makes sense since dogs are predisposed to eating fat. Add to that the fact that it is old or rotten and your pet is at high risk of suffering from pancreatitis food poisoning and indigestion.

What is the most dangerous old or rotten cooked meat to feed a dog?

For the most dangerous old or rotten cooked meat to feed your pet dog you should still give him food that contains very high-fat content such as bacon ham or meat trimmings. Additionally the high-fat content will compound the problem of high bacterial content as well as the high salt content.

It is important to keep in mind however that any cooked food that has been left out too long or has rotted can pose a health risk to your dog. 

Human stomach vs dog stomach – how do they differ in digesting rotten food?

Over the hundreds of years that dogs have been domesticated instead of hunting for food in the wild their stomachs have become more similar to humans’.

There are still some key differences between a dogs stomach and a humans stomach do not get me wrong. Even though dogs still have a much more acidic digestive tract they are able to digest tougher food and are able to consume food with more bacteria than what humans can handle. Furthermore dogs digest their food for just a few hours unlike us frail humans who have to digest our food for days. Yet despite these advantages they have become more susceptible to spoiled or contaminated food than most animals found in the wild.

Despite the fact that dogs have retained much of their resistance to spoiled dirty and hard-to-digest food from millions of years of evolution their stomachs are simply not as tough as wolves because they have been eating processed food for hundreds of years. 

What are the signs that your dog has food poisoning?

In dogs food poisoning can cause vomiting diarrhea loss of appetite lethargy dehydration or a combination of all of these symptoms. As well as the number of bacteria ingested the effects of food poisoning on dogs can also differ based on your dogs sensitivity which means that some dogs may even experience tremors or seizures.

You should consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs but its also a good idea to only give your dog water for 24 hours and observe if their condition improves after or during the fast. In the event it does not take your dog to the veterinarian immediately for further treatment.

You should also be careful not to confuse food toxicity with food poisoning. The symptoms are basically the same but the treatments differ so knowing what is wrong with your dog could save his life. Food poisoning results from eating rotten or contaminated food whereas food toxicity is the result of eating foods that are toxic to dogs but not humans such as chocolate sugar-free gums and candy grapes and raisins among others.


The research revealed that feeding your dog canned food past the “best by” date may not cause harm but it will offer very little nutritional or dietary value and in the long run can be detrimental to your pet. It has also been discovered that feeding your dog food that has been left out in the open for hours as well as rotten food can result in food poisoning regardless of how it was prepared.

The effects of food poisoning on your pet can be very dangerous especially if you allow it to become severe. Be sure to contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has consumed contaminated or rotten food.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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